July 15, 2009
Statement on Disasters
A wide range of natural and technological disasters, as well as war and terrorism, place animals in jeopardy around the world. The HSUS will strive to rescue and care for animals trapped in these circumstances whenever local and regional capacities have been overwhelmed. The nature and extent of HSUS efforts will vary, depending upon issues of timing, access, available resources, and security of human responders.
The HSUS will attend to companion animals trapped in these settings as well as to farm animals and wildlife whenever possible. In the case of companion animals, captive wildlife, and farm animals, The HSUS will endeavor to reunite them with responsible caretakers. We believe that attention to the protection of animals at risk in disasters and other crises is a responsibility of government, since animals play such a central role in the emotional and economic well-being of people throughout the world.
Intervention to rescue and care for animals trapped in disasters or other crises requires coordinated advance planning and preparation among non-profit and governmental agencies at all levels and must include organized efforts to urge and support people to include animals in their personal disaster contingency plans. When animal rescue does not impede human rescue and relief imperatives, government responders should directly assist animals in need, cooperating with animal welfare organizations in the process.